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Addict Biol. 2011 Oct;16(4):638-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-1600.2011.00322.x. Epub 2011 Apr 26.

The German multi-centre study on smoking-related behavior-description of a population-based case-control study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Heinrich-Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany.


Tobacco smoking is a major risk factor for most of the diseases leading in mortality. Nicotine dependence (ND), which sustains regular smoking, is now acknowledged to be under substantial genetic control with some environmental contribution. At present, however, genetic studies on ND are mostly conducted in populations that have been poorly characterized with regard to ND-related phenotypes for the simple reason that the respective populations were not primarily collected to study ND. The German multi-centre study 'Genetics of Nicotine Dependence and Neurobiological Phenotypes', which is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) as part of the Priority Program (Schwerpunktprogramm) SPP1226: 'Nicotine-Molecular and Physiological Effects in CNS', was intended to overcome some of these inherent problems of current genetic studies of ND. The multi-centre study is a population-based case-control study of smokers and never-smokers (n = 2396). The study was unique worldwide because it was the first large-scale genetic study specifically addressing ND with the collection of a wide range of environmental, psychosocial and neurobiological phenotypes. Study design and major population characteristics with emphasis on risk prediction of smoking status were presented in this paper.

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